Could anyone give me a view on whether defective neighbouring building work would influence you when buying a property?

(10 Posts)
MGMidget Thu 21-Jan-16 22:25:54

Our neighbours recently did an extension immediately next to our property. There was a party wall award in place but they didn't follow it. The party wall surveyor had asked for their original plans to be changed to protect our property from being at risk of damage from settlement as a result of their work. We discovered near the end of the job that they hadn't done what was asked and appeared to have built to their original plans rejected by the party wall surveyor. We are now stuck with the consequences and will obviously have to disclose this when we come to sell in the future. We might not have any problems as a result of the deviation from the party wall award, but then again we might. So if you were a potential purchaser would you run a mile, ask for a price reduction or not worry about it too much? Also are there any estate agents reading this who have a view? Thanks!

PragmaticWench Fri 22-Jan-16 07:40:59

Personally I'd be concerned as a potential buyer but I'd follow advice from my conveyancer.

It might be worth you also asking on the Legal issues board here for a legal perspective.

Have you done anything about them breaching the party wall award or just left it? Even if they don't change the build, wouldn't they be responsible for any damage it causes, even in the future?

fabulousathome Fri 22-Jan-16 08:55:06

I'd run that mile. Sorry.

MGMidget Fri 22-Jan-16 11:41:37

Pragmatic and Fabulous, thanks for your responses. Personally, I would run a mile if it was me which is why I'm worrying! Thanks for suggesting the legal board, I will post there too. The Party Wall Surveyor identified the problem during inspection and has left it that the neighbours continue to be liable for any damage resulting from it. The problem is, as I see it at the moment anyway, that they would argue their work didn't cause the problem and then we have a long legal dispute, have to spend a fortune on expert investigations and lots of uncertainty hanging over it. They have indicated already they have lawyers and an expert appointed and stopped speaking to us as soon as the Party Wall Surveyor wrote to them with his findings!

I think we would also have to make an insurance claim if cracks or other problems start appearing as insurance companies require you to notify them when damage first occurs don't they - in case it turns out that the neighbour's work didn't cause the problem but something else that is covered by our insurance. I think we might then have the dreaded 'subsidence' label attached to our property and maybe years of monitoring cracks, increased premiums, tied into the current insurance company etc, as I've heard insurance companies classify settlement as subsidence or am I overthinking this?

I'd love to know what an estate agent would make of it!

Moving15 Fri 22-Jan-16 20:29:41

This would not put me off entirely as a buyer but it would affect the price I was willing to pay if there was evidence of problems. I would want a more detailed survey carried out to assess any evidence of problems for insurance reasons and peace of mind.

jevoudrais Sat 23-Jan-16 08:31:47

I would run a mile.

Largely because your neighbours seem like inconsiderate pricks who are intending to live in their property a long time. I wouldn't fancy neighbours like that if I was intending to live their myself. Maybe if someone was buying as a BTL it would be less of an issue but they are still going to be concerned about if and when they want to say it.

Surely your neighbours can be forced to rectify this under the PWA?

MGMidget Sun 20-Mar-16 00:27:58

Amazing as it may seem, the Party Wall Act is completely toothless and said neighbours don't have to do anything. Indeed, I am starting to think they ignored the surveyors requirements on purpose to say a few quid, knowing that nothing could be done about it afterwards! I managed an opportunistic conversation with their builder the other day and he seemed to be blissfully unaware of the existence of a party wall award!

MGMidget Sun 20-Mar-16 00:29:16

oops, 'save a few quid', not 'say a few quid'!

caroldecker Sun 20-Mar-16 00:49:30

You can take them to court for any damage caused.

Chottie Sun 20-Mar-16 01:01:10

Sorry, I would run a mile too. I'd be wondering what other stuff they'd done to the house.

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